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The Friday Night Lights Are Back

Joe ArrigoCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2009

At high schools across the nation and thousands of  high school athletes will attempt to live out their dreams on the gridiron. High school football is back. It is one of the best part of the start of the new school year and in some towns, defines them and gives them a sense of pride. The kids that give up hours and hours of their summer for football camps, two a days and speed & agility camps see all their hard work pay off.

Out of those kids, a select few will have the opportunity to use their god given talents to play football and get a free education at an institution of higher learning. The recruiting of these athletes is intense and has become a high profile affair with various TV networks broadcasting the athletes decisions live. 

High school football is a staple of Friday nights in most towns. They all gather and watch their kids play their hearts out and try to make them proud. The coach will be second guessed as the game goes on. In some places, the guys get together at the local diner or barber shop and discuss the game and team, with the coach making an appearence.

The school gathers and watches their friends try to defend the schools honor against other schools in the  surounding areas. They sit in the cold stands, talking about who likes who, where they are going after the game and what happened at school that past week. But when their school has a season to remember traditions are born.

Like at Upland High School in Upland California. In the 1995-96 school year the "Scotts" (or Highlanders) were in their second season under Tim Salter. UHS was not a good football team before Salter, but that season Upland not only won the C.I.F. title, but also the "Dawg Pound" was born in the UHS stands.

Every school has a section where the students get rowdy where they get the parents and other students pumped up with their energy. It builds character and school spirit, much like the "Cameron Crazy's" at Duke. But the team is always the focus of the parents and classmates.

With the recruiting trial always white hot you never know who will be in the stands, especially if your school is a powerhouse or has a five star player. I was at a local game this past week and seen a major Pac 10 head coach and 3 coordinators there scouting players. Websites such, and all promote high school sports, list the top 100 athletes and the schools those athletes are considering.

High school football is as american as apple pie. Seeing the city come together as one to root for their local high school is refreshing. Watching future college and even NFL players play the game before it becomes a business (to them) is a joy. It is far from pure, but it is affordable for the family and a good way to get together with friends.

This will be the first in many blogs about high school football and I plan to cover a few games as well. Tonight, as I watched Oaks Christian High school (Ca) take on Skyline High school (Wa) on ESPNU and see the names Montana, Smith and Gretzky I can't help but wonder how they must feel as parents? They have had all the accolades in their respective careers and now there sons are receiving them as well. It has to be a proud moment for them, like any other parent who see's their kids play under the Friday night lights.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and remember, what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.

Joe Arrigo


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